Combining the old with the new, and the traditional with the modern, has been a signature style of veteran designer Rajesh Pratap Singh. His ingenuity in using Indian textiles is hard to match and it comes as little surprise that the first Woolmark brand ambassador for India chose to foray into luxurious wraps for the winter of 2014. The Delhi-based designer has collaborated with Shingora, a key player in the shawl industry, for a capsule collection of 35 designs in luxurious shawls, stoles and pocket squares. Shingora, led by its CEO Amit Jain, is a premium producer for luxury brands and private labels such as Armani, Polo Ralph Lauren and Paul Smith. The collection, made using premium wool and merino cashmere, was launched recently at Pratap’s store in DLF Emporio, Delhi.
The designer’s signature style is unmistakable, especially in the way motifs, plucked from traditional Indian weaves, have been used in a contemporary way. Don’t be surprised to spot a series of skulls on a shawl or a flock of birds soaring high on a stole. The collection will be retailed across the designer’s stores, while some of the pieces will also be sold at premium luxury retail destinations in India and abroad.
Here are edited excerpts from an interview with the designer:
So how did the collaboration come about?
My association with Woolmark brought me closer to the world of wool and its finer nuances. Through Woolmark, I got in touch with Shingora. I visited their manufacturing unit in Ludhiana last year and was impressed with the technology at hand that could help translate my designs into luxurious woolen stoles, shawls and pocket squares.
There is an interesting use of motifs in the collection. What was the inspiration?
I have always liked working with Indian motifs like flowers and birds but prefer to give them a modern interpretation. We have used various printing and weaving techniques to give traditional shawls like the Jamavar and Kani a contemporary look. I have also used patterns in an unconventional way. The colour palette is also muted, restricted mostly to pastels, as we kept the domestic market in mind.
Is the stole now a strong global accessory?
Yes. I also find that its use is also very personalised. People carry a stole and have different ways of using it. It can be an
entry level garment to a highly luxurious one.